I saw this morning, with a sudden smart,
Spring preparing to depart.
I know her well and so I told her all my heart.
“Why did you, Spring, your coming so delay,
If, now here, you cannot stay?
You win my love and then unloving pass away.
“We waited, waited, O so long, so long,
Just to hear the ousel’s song.
To-morrow ’twill be hushed, to-day that is so strong.
“Day after day, and dawn again on dawn,
Winter’s shroud was on the lawn,
So still, so smooth, we thought ‘twould never be withdrawn.
`Now that at last your welcome mimic snow
Doth upon the hawthorn blow,
It bides not on the bough, but melts before we know.
“Scarce hath the primrose o’er the sordid mould
Lavished treasure, than behold!
Our wealth of simple joy is robbed of all its gold.
“When to the woods we hie with feet of mirth,
Now the hyacinths have birth,
Swiftly the blue of Heaven fades from the face of earth.
“You with dry gusts and unrelenting wrack
Kept the liquid cuckoo back.
Now, even ere he goes, he turneth hoarse, alack!
“When, in the long warm nights of June,
Nightingales have got their tune,
Their sweet woe dies, and we are beggared of the boon.
“First drops the bloom, then darkens the green leaf;
Everything in life is brief,
Save autumn’s deepening gloom and winter’s changeless grief.”
Then with a smile thus answered me the Spring:
“To my voice and flight you cling,
For I, before I perch, again am on the wing.
“With you were I the whole year round to stay,
‘Twould be you that went away,
Your love made fickle by monotony of May.
“Love cannot live save upon love beyond.
Leaving you, I keep you fond,
Not letting you despair, but making you despond.
`Farewell, and love me still, my lover dear,
Love me till another year,
And you, if you be true, again will find me here.”
Then darker, deeper, waxed the woods; the ground
Flowerless turned and then embrowned;
And less was of sweet scent, and less was of sweet sound.
Mute was the mavis, moulted was the thorn,
Meads were cut, and lambs were shorn,
And I by Spring was left forsaken and forlorn.
Forlorn, forsaken, shall I be until
Primrose peep and throstle shrill,
And in the orchard gleam the outriding daffodil.
Then shall I know that Spring among the trees
Hiding is, and that the breeze
Anew will fling abroad odours and melodies.